I’m going to repeat the follow paragraph at the beginning of every blog in the series, “From a Dream to a Destiny.” Here’s why: Robert Morris is the pastor of Gateway Church in Dallas, TX. I really respect him and appreciate him as a man with a heart for God. He wrote a book that changed me! It is entitled “From Dream to Destiny.” If you wish, you can pick it up at a bookstore, go online to Robert Morris’ website, or order it at Amazon, as a Kindle Book.
Every person has a dream from God, and every person has a destiny from God … a PURPOSE you alone can fulfill … and God wants you to fulfill that destiny. But many people can not move into their destiny because of ONE word. CHARACTER. Their character will not support their destiny. And so God takes us through character building tests so that we can fulfill our destiny.
There are TEN (10) character tests that God used to help Joseph, the son of Jacob, fulfill his destiny
If you want to have the book that I’m using to bring this teaching to you, go to Amazon, KINDLE, or go to “Gateway Church’s” website and look for Pastor Robert Morris’ book – “From Dream to Destiny.” This book has profoundly blessed and influenced my life, and I commend it to you.
This week we’ll examine the PURITY TEST that Joseph had to pass before he could begin to live out his purpose. We can draw inspiration from Joseph’s. When he was faced with great temptation, Joseph passed the purity test with flying colors!
Genesis 39:7-12 (NLT)
6 So Potiphar gave Joseph complete administrative responsibility over everything he owned. With Joseph there, he didn’t worry about a thing — except what kind of food to eat!
Joseph was a very handsome and well-built young man, 7 and Potiphar’s wife soon began to look at him lustfully. “Come and sleep with me,” she demanded.
8 But Joseph refused. “Look,” he told her,“my master trusts me with everything in his entire household. 9 No one here has more authority than I do. He has held back nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How could I do such a wicked thing? It would be a great sin against God.”
10 She kept putting pressure on Joseph day after day, but he refused to sleep with her, and he kept out of her way as much as possi-ble. 11 One day, however, no one else was around when he went in to do his work. 12 She came and grabbed him by his cloak, demand-ing, “Come on, sleep with me!” Joseph tore himself away, but he left his cloak in her hand as he ran from the house.
I was driving away from the church I serve this week, and typically I use Huguenot Road and Midlothian Turnpike to go home. Up on Huguenot Road the speed limit is 45 miles an hour. I was going the speed limit. Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed that a person entering the intersection wasn’t slowing down for the stop light. Sure enough, they pulled right out in front of me. I came within inches of crashing into them. The person driving the other car ignored the red light. They ignored the caution signs. They were focused on where they wanted to go, not on safety.
There are reasons why there are traffic signs and speed limits. And guard rails! (It’s not smart to drive as close as you can to a guardrail.)
Driving is not just a necessity …to get to and from work, visit relatives, make trips to the grocery store … but it’s also quite fun.
Traffic signs are not meant to take away the fun or the utility of driving. Those signs are meant to keep us safe. If everybody obeys the rules then driving is much safer. But if somebody chooses to deliberately ignore the rules, driving can become very dangerous.
Joseph understood that Mrs. Potiphar was ignoring the stop signs! He knew Potiphar’s wife didn’t belong to him. Having sex with her would’ve been stealing from his boss. It didn’t matter that she wanted to cross the line. Joseph understood the consequences for that behavior. In Egypt, if a slave raped a woman, that act was punishable by death.
There are THREE reasons Joseph passed the purity test. They are very simple when you look at them. (1) He said “no” to Mrs. Potiphar, (2) he kept out of her way as much as possible … and when the temptation became too great for him to walk away (3) he ran!
God advises us to follow Joseph’s example in 1 Corinthians 6:18-20.
18 Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. 19 Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.
God created man and woman to join together in marriage, and God created male and female to enjoy each other in marriage. He created us to be sexual beings so that we would be physically, emotionally and spiritually bound to one another … what God calls “one flesh.” When human beings stay within the protective and loving boundaries of marital sex, sharing life together is beautiful … as God meant it to be. Just like obeying the traffic signs.
But in our freedom, human beings discovered the excitement of SEXUAL SIN. Sexual sin has enslaved mankind. Free sex is never free! Sexual SIN has been a burden and relationship breaker in human history.
So God doesn’t just say to walk away from “sexual misconduct,” or immorality. He tells us to run from it! And that is exactly what Joseph did! He had to leave his garment in Potiphar’s wife’s hands in order to get away.
In Genesis 39:9 what DOES Joseph call what she’s suggesting … or demanding! “A wicked thing…” “a GREAT SIN against God.”
It is NOT a sin to be tempted. Jesus was tempted in the wilderness … He walked into a face-to-face battle with Satan, but He overcame the temptations of His enemy and ours. He knew the Word of God, and He could recognize Satan’s lies and trickery.
The word of God tells us in 1 Corinthians 10:12-13
12 If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. 13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experi-ence. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you can endure.
So Joseph ran away from temptation! He understood something that our sinful society and American culture seems to have forgotten. Sexual immorality is wicked and sinful!
Like Joseph, the question is, can God trust us to be faithful in this area of our lives? It’s a very important question that each of us will have to face. In order to move from our dream to our destiny we must bring our sexual appetites under control.
The Bible has a word for our challenge. It is LUST.
LUST is defined as unbridled sexual desire or urges. Therefore lust is intense, uncontrolled and passionate sexual desires that travel outside God’s intentions for our lives.
The primary factors that differentiate LUST FROM LOVE is that lust has as its focus pleasing oneself, and it often leads to unwholesome actions to fulfill one’s desires with no regard to the consequences. So lust is about possession and greed.
The Christian faith is about selflessness and is marked by holy living. Lust is in opposition to these ideals.
Nobody will ever be perfect or attain sinlessness while still on this earth, yet Christ-followers aim high, hoping to live lives that are very pleasing to God and absent of bondage, guilt, and selfishness.
The Bible makes a very strong statement regarding our TARGET FOR LIVING in 1 Thessalonians 4:1,and 3-8:
1Finally, dear brothers and sisters, we urge you in the name of the Lord Jesus to live in a way that pleases God, as we have taught you.
3 God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin. 4 Then each of you will control his own body and live in holi-ness and honor — 5 not in lustful passion like the pagans who do not know God and His ways. 6 Never harm or cheat a fellow be-liever in this matter, for the Lord avenges all such sins, as we have solemnly warned you before. 7 God has called us to live holy lives, not impure lives. 8 Therefore, anyone who refuses to live by these rules is not disobeying human teaching but is rejecting God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.
If lust has not gripped your heart and mind, you must understand that you need to be constantly prepared to fight against its temptation! You can be sure that because we live on this fallen planet, one day each of us will come face to face with lusts temptations.
If you currently struggle with lust, it is time to come clean before God and ask for His intervention in your life. Since lust is a part of our heart, the core of your being, it might be easy to assume that impurity and sexual immorality begins in that area. But it doesn’t. Impurity actually begins with looking!
Notice what the Bible says about Potiphar’s wife casting longing eyes on Joseph. So if you think LUST is a guy problem, think again. Mrs. Potiphar thought Joseph was gorgeous! I suppose it was only natural that she would notice that he was attractive. But at some point she began to not only notice Joseph, but also look longingly at him. It was only a matter of time before looking turned into longing … or lust. When noticing turned into looking and then turned into longing that’s when the trouble began!
Lust has been studied and examined and some of the conclusions are: (1) most woman are not usually drawn to a man’s physique. It is understood that (2) the way to get THE ROMANCE that women long for is to attract the male sexually. In other words, sex is not the end for a woman, but the means to an end.
MEN AND WOMEN … Here’s some advice that will go along way toward steering clear of immorality and battling lust: Don’t CONTINUE to look at people using your sexual imagination! Don’t allow yourself to continue looking because if you allow yourself to continue to look, you were inviting lust into your life.
King David’s sins of adultery and murder began when he wandered out onto the roof of his palace and happened to see Bathsheba bathing. (2 Samuel 11:2)
How long did David look before his looking became lust? David could’ve turned and looked the other way. He could’ve walked back into his palace and cried out to the Lord for help. But instead he continued to look … and lust was inevitably stirred up.
Someone may have told you that “… the second look is lust.” Unfortunately, that advice hasn’t helped too many people because that first look can become a long look!
The reason Joseph didn’t fall into sin was because he understood how lust can invade a heart and mind. Lust didn’t come into his heart because he did not allow it to come in through his eyes.
DON’T LOOK should become a motto for all of us.
• Don’t look at pornography.
• Don’t look at inappropriate sites on the Internet.
• Don’t look at movies that are sexually explicit.
• Don’t look at television programs that are seductive.
If you see someone who is not dressed appropriately, the first thought that should come to your mind ought to be “don’t look!”
Have you ever heard someone say, “I’ll just look, but I won’t do anything. I’m just going to look, but I’m not going to buy?” That careless attitude doesn’t prevent anything. Don’t look!
Cable TV has made it very easy for us to satisfy ourselves with long, lasting looks. If you have Netflix you need to be careful. If you travel alone, and you stay in hotels where you can watch explicit movies, you need to be careful! Don’t look!
Not looking is a biblical principle. Psalm 101:3 says, “I will set nothing wicked before my eyes.” In another place the Bible says that the eyes are never satisfied. So the eyes are where the problem starts.
In Matthew 5:28 Jesus tells us, 27 ”You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 So if your eye — even your good eye — causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.”
Jesus is showing us a progression here. He is telling us that looking can lead to sin. Stop looking!
Jesus has more to say about our looking in Matthew 6:22 through 23. ”The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be your full of darkness.”
The Lord Jesus is saying that what we put before our eyes will eventually end up in our hearts, and what ends up in our hearts will eventually affect our behavior. If we continue to set darkness before our eyes, our bodies will end up full of that darkness.
Job said, “I have made a covenant with my eyes; why then should I look upon a young woman?” (Job 31:1) That is a good scripture passage for every man or woman to memorize!
Don’t set yourself up for sexual failure! Learn to recognize and appreciate God’s warning signs and guardrails. Aim for purity.